Game 5 Quotes: Cavaliers vs. Bulls


(On this series with Chicago):
“You have got to give Chicago credit; they are a gritty team and I thought on every possession down the floor, they challenged us. This was a difficult series for us, but it was great. If we expect to get to where we want to be, we are going to have to go through trials and tribulations and try to have that bunker mentality of staying together, trying to defend and trusting what we are doing for each other out on the floor…whether it’s coaches trusting each other, players trusting each other, players with the coaches or vice versa. It was a great series for us. Chicago played hard on every play and like I said, hopefully it gets us more ready to continue this run.”

(On Shaq’s game tonight):
“I thought Shaquille established our inside game early. He was terrific not only offensively, but defensively too. I thought he really made that paint look crowded and he made those guys take some shots that they probably didn’t want to take.”

(On Delonte West’s play tonight):
“Coming off the bench, it was great to get the performance that we got from Delonte. Delonte was big for us in both halves and he hit some key shots, especially down the stretch. I thought the three that he hit from the corner was big when they were on a little run and his defense was solid for us the whole game.”

(On resting before their second round series):
“Again, I haven’t done any work on Boston, so it’s good from the preparation standpoint to have a little bit of time. (It will) give our guys a little time to rest and then get after it after we have taken a day to review what we need to review.”

(On if he is concerned with LeBron’s elbow and LeBron taking a left-handed free throw because of it):
“Yeah. He turned to me and he said something about 20 second timeouts and I said, ‘Yeah, we have two’. I couldn’t hear him and he said something else. He was asking how many does Chicago have, because he had made the first one and I didn’t know that his arm was bothering him. I said, ‘No, Chicago has one timeout and we have two’. Apparently, he wanted to take a timeout to get his elbow stretched or looked at or something like that. I did not pick up on it at that time and so he shot the free throw left-handed.”

(On Antawn taking less shots in the second half after scoring 20 in the first):
“We started rolling in a lot of different ways in the second half, especially with our defense, so we did not go to him as much in the second half because we had created separation a couple different times, and we were going with whatever was working at that time. He played a terrific first half for us and like I said, in the second half, we held on and ended up getting the win. We did not go to him as much in the second half as in the first.”


(On how his elbow felt shooting free throws late in the game):
“I don’t know, honestly, what’s going on (with it). I’ve done tests to try and figure this thing out, but it almost feels like you hit your funny bone and it kind of numbs up for a little bit. After I shot the first (free throw late in the game), that’s exactly what it did. I wasn’t even going to even try and shoot the second one. First of all, making the first one we went up four, so I knew we had some type of cushion. Honestly, if I would have had to make (the second one), I would have tried to with my right hand, but I didn’t want to risk it anymore.”

(On if his elbow was bothering him the entire game):
“Off and on, but I was able to stick with the game plan. Antawn had it going. Shaq played extremely well. It was one of those games where every possession counted, offensively and defensively. When I had to make plays offensively, I was able to do that.”

(On if he recalls when he first injured his elbow):
“I don’t know exactly when it happened; I can’t figure it out. It’s been going on for a couple of weeks and hopefully, it doesn’t continue to bother me as we continue to move on in the postseason. It bothers me more because I don’t actually know what it is. I don’t know what’s going on, but we will figure it out. We have the best doctors in Cleveland and they will figure it out. We will be fine.”

(On if he is concerned with his elbow):
“No, I’m not concerned. I just want to try and get a better sense of what it may be, but Cleveland fans have nothing to be worried about. I’m healthy, I’m ready and we are looking forward to the second round. They don’t have any reason to panic.”

(On if he is concerned that the Bulls were able to keep the game close):
“Not at all. We knew they were going to give it their all. They were at the end of their rope, and we knew that we were going to get their whole fight. The only thing that we were a little disappointed about was at the end of the game, we kept fouling them. We were in the penalty and it was stopping the clock. We were up (seven) points and we fouled them, I think, three times, and they went to the line and made all their free throws and cut it to one. That’s something that you can’t do when you’re up (is allow) a team to get easy points without the clock moving. That’s the only thing that we were a little bit disappointed about.”

(On what it means to him beating the Bulls in a series):
“It has special meaning to me because we have moved on. We want to continue to move on in this postseason, but we want to take it one game at a time. The postseason is where champions are made and it is where individuals make their mark. It’s special because we get an opportunity to move on and continue our season.”


(On whether the game plan was any different tonight):
“(In) the two previous games I was missing shots I don’t usually miss. It was only my second game with my thumbs back. I’ve been training with the ‘thingamajiggy’ for the last six to eight weeks and really didn’t have a good grip on the ball. I just wanted to be more aggressive, take my time and just really go up strong. Hands are feeling good, thumbs are feeling pretty good. I just wanted to be more aggressive.”

(On drawing two quick fouls on Brad Miller in a one-minute span):
“I’ve been here 17 years now. I’ve been of the mindset that when I take it and go, you’re either going to have to foul me or let me go. It was a fair call. I haven’t got that call in awhile. It was nice to get that. When I’m backing down like that, you have to bang and you have to use two hands.”

(On whether he and the Cavs defended Noah differently tonight):
“Noah is a very active guy. He was never really our focus. We were really focused on Rose and Hinrich…When I got to help our guards because they were really getting into our lanes, when I’d go over to block a shot, Noah was getting easy buckets and getting easy putbacks. He wasn’t really our focus. We can live with guys like him scoring. The game we did lose Rose was able to get off and Hinrich was able to get off. You can’t let their two top scorers get off.”

(On whether he’s concerned about LeBron’s elbow):
“Not really. He’s a tough kid. Tomorrow we’re going to take a day off. I’m sure he’ll come in and get some treatment. We have a couple of days. Hopefully, it’s nothing bad. He’s a tough kid, unanimous MVP and he’ll be fine.”

(On playing Boston next round):
“I’m looking forward to it. In our quest to be the best, you have to face many, many challenges. We know what we have to do. We match up pretty good with this team, and if we do what we’re supposed to do, we’ll be fine.”

(On if there’s extra incentive on playing Boston since that’s where he was injured):
“The only incentive I’m worried about is the final goal. We know that they’re a tough team. We know that they’re chasing the same thing that we’re chasing. We just have to keep our heads, keep our composure and do what we’re supposed to do. If we do that, then we’ll be fine.”

(On if he was bothered by Glen Davis and thought the play was dirty):
“Nothing bothers me. I don’t think so (that it was dirty). I don’t think so. I’m just glad I got my thumbs back. For six weeks, I couldn’t even wipe my furniture. I’m just glad I got my thumbs back. You need your thumbs. Your thumbs are very, very important.”


(On his rhythm in the first half):
“It happens like that. Sometimes the ball comes your way like it did in the first half and I got into a rhythm. LeBron said in the huddle to keep going at them and I was able to get comfortable and knock down some shots to give us some momentum in the first half.”

(On this game getting the team more playoff-tested):
“It does. It’s always the case where when a team is on the brink of elimination, you are going to get their best effort. They were scrappy and we knew it wasn’t going to be a pushover game. It just shows for us that we kept our composure and executed to find a way to get it done. It wasn’t pretty at all, but championship-caliber teams find a way to get it done and that’s what we did tonight.”

(On closing out the series at home):
“It gives our home fans something to cheer about. Of course you want to get it over quicker, but this was a young, energetic team that fought until the end. We learned from the mistakes that we made in Game 3 and were fortunate enough to come out and play well in Game 4 and finished it up at home. The fans were the sixth man and they gave us the momentum that we needed and made it easier for us.”

(On playing the Celtics in the second round):
“They’re a championship-caliber team. A lot of people are saying they are old and can’t contend for a championship, but we know that we are going to get their best effort so far this year. They are playing with confidence and it’s going to be a battle. The last two games have had that playoff atmosphere, so you are really going to see two teams who know what’s at stake. Every possession is going to count and we have to take care of the home court advantage and take one game at a time. They’re healthy and they feel like they can come out and win the series. It’s going to be a fun series and we are going to claw and fight to the end as well. It’s a great test for us to make sure we take it one game at time and get it done.”


(On pulling it out in the end):
“We knew it was going to be tough. We knew we need to crank it up at the end. For the most part we did a pretty good job and we came away with the win.”

(On the team’s scoring tonight):
“We play together and anytime we come out and believe in one another, we’re a hard team to beat. If we can continue to do that throughout the playoffs, it’s going to be tough for everybody.”

(On playing the Celtics in the second round):
“We know they are a veteran team. They’ve been where we are trying to get to. We know they are come out to fight every game and we can’t take them lightly. We have to stick to our game plan and believe in one another.”

(On not being able to get separation from the Bulls):
“It’s the playoffs. They didn’t want to go home and we knew it wasn’t going to be easy. They did exactly what we expected and that was to put up a fight, but we held them off in the end.”


(On adjustments the Bulls made at halftime):
“I thought our intensity, overall, in the second half was much better defensively. We were on the glass better. We needed to get up into bodies a little bit more. Antawn is a tough cover just because he is so clever around the basket and then with LeBron’s penetration or Mo’s penetration, (they) kick it out (and) hit a couple three’s on us in the first half which hurt us. I thought, overall, in the second half, defensively, we just got into guys better, were more aggressive on the ball and especially against Antawn. He’s a tough cover. He has an array of shots and makes it hard. We did a much better job in the second half on him.”

(On what the team needs to do to reach the next level):
“I think, overall, we have a good nucleus of young players. They’ve had good playoff experience last year and now this year. We have a lot of flexibility, salary cap wise, over the summer and now it’s an opportunity to really sit back. I’m proud of the guys. That’s the first thing. I’m proud of how hard they played, how they stuck together all year through a lot of adversity, a lot of injuries, distractions and things, but they battled and I’m proud of that and I’m proud of them. I know the whole staff is. We’ll take care of that business as we get back to Chicago.”

(On if he knew if anything was wrong with LeBron’s elbow):
“I knew his elbow was bothering him a little bit the last couple games, I believe or the last game for sure. It didn’t seem to affect him much. I saw him take the free throw left handed and he was kind of grabbing his elbow a little bit. I’m sure it’s bothering him a little bit.”

(On what his team proved this series):
“I don’t know if we proved anything other than that we have a bunch of guys that have stuck together all year, have played hard, have developed. Young guys like Derrick, Joakim and Taj have really showed a lot of progress throughout the year. We’re very young. Our nucleus is very young moving forward, so that’s a positive. This experience and last year’s experience only makes you better because playoff basketball is different. No matter what anybody says, it’s a different type of basketball with the adjustments you have to make in focusing on teams. Teams are going to take certain things away. I think it’s a really benefit and was a benefit to us last year, in terms of our summer work and I expect it to be a benefit this year. Guys realize what they need to work on and how to get better and come back better and hungrier next year.”

(On his thought process not to go for a three down three with 17.6 second left):
“17.6 (seconds) is a lot of time. Kirk got the rebound and then he took a dribble so we couldn’t advance the ball, so we took a time out. We had one timeout left. We wanted to open the court up. They’re not a great free throw shooting team…and we’re not a great three point shooting team, so if I could get derrick the ball in the open court, knowing LeBron was going to be on him, I thought it was a benefit to us to attack him full speed ahead than try to call another timeout, not have one, and then have to foul them and get into that game. Sometimes it’s easier to have a full steam ahead with a guy like Derrick especially, so he can attack off the dribble coming at him. We’re in the penalty, trying to get a foul, trying to get some quick points and stop the clock. It only wasted a couple seconds to get it up there and unfortunately we weren’t able to capitalize on the shot but if we were, we could have fouled and made it more difficult for them. Hopefully foul the right person and then we could call a time-out and move it up. If we had to go for three, we still had an opportunity with plenty of time. That was the process.”

(On what they were trying to take away from the Cavs):
“We’re just trying to mix it up. If you come on double teams all the time on LeBron and then you’re in rotations and now a small guy usually is trying to box Varejao. Then you have Mo, West, Jamison, all those guys on the weak side who can make shots and make plays. If you don’t come on LeBron and he’s stepping back and hitting shots or making threes or attacking the basket or getting you in foul trouble. I think you have to mix it up a little bit. I think you have to read the game. I thought we came on him well, got us back in the game and made other guys make plays. If he’s swinging the ball and making plays, I think you have to reevaluate. If you give him a steady diet, they’re going to isolate him either on the top or that left wing area where he’s really effective because he likes going left and he’s really powerful obviously. He just makes it tough because he can see over your double teams and if he gets to the middle, they like the weakside three, which is a much easier shot. So, I think, you just try to mix it up as best you can against them and make everyone else have to step up and make big plays, which they’re capable of. Antawn’s done it. Shaq obviously can and Parker’s hit shots. They’re good for a reason. They have a lot of weapons. They have versatility.”


(On keys to Cavs win tonight):
“I think when they got on a run and got easy baskets. Throughout the whole game, just fast break after fast break and we couldn’t stop them until the end of the game. I think that was the turn out (turning point). But, I think we came out and gave it our all, passing the ball, playing defense and just making the other players shoot the ball. But, we ended up losing.”

(On Bulls defensive adjustment tonight, doubling LeBron James and forcing others to score):
“Yes, stay at the nail, stay on the elbows, take a charge if he (James) was running your way. He just forced the other players to put the ball on the floor and shoot it.”

(On his potential three-point play with score at 80-79 as a factor):
“It hurt. I thought I picked the ball up. They say, usually after you dribble, if you got fouled and dribbled again, it’s not continuation, but I think I picked the ball up while I ran into him. They didn’t call it and it hurt us. They came down, got fouled and LeBron got an-one or something like that.. It turned the game around.”

(On Cavs defensive change with James guarding him, did his attitude change with the adjustment):
“Yeah. It was weird, I’ll tell you that. Just a 6-8 person sticking you. Towards the end of the game where you are supposed to make shots, my shots came in and out. The last shot I took, I think I could have taken a better shot. But, these are things that you just learn from. And, if I get put into that position again, I’ll know what to do.”

(On his last field goal attempt, was he trying to draw a foul):
“Yeah, he played great defense (James). I thought he was going to jump and I was going to jump into him. It messed me up a little bit, messed up my timing. Usually, I hit that one with my left hand because I’m kind of good going to my left. Tonight, it didn’t go in.”

(On his vote for retaining coach Vinny Del Negro):
“I would vote yes. That’s a guy where we both came in. He let me have my freedom, but still coached me and let me make my mistakes. I watched film with him almost every day. He taught me a lot just on defense and on offense and what I was supposed to do. The decision really isn’t up to me. It’s up to the front office, so I’m just going to let them worry about that and just deal with it.”

(On this series and where Bulls match up with the Cavs):
“It was tough, the games they really won, they blew us out. If anything, we just wanted to come out here and compete and try to make the game close. I think if we would have made the game close in the other games, it would have been a better series. But, we let them get out and get their runs and they are the type of team where they are too good offensively where, if one person is going, all of them get going. I wouldn’t take anything back, if anything, we can learn from it and try to work on it in the future.”

(On LeBron James especially on defense against him):
“It’s tough. For one person to just take over a game, just thinking about it, in high school and college, teams used to beat us by playing team basketball. In high school and sometimes in college, I was the guy who was taking over games. For him (James) to do that, it had me going crazy. Like he is really taking over a game like that. He’s a great player, great offensively and defensively, especially if you a driver because he is playing help side. That’s why they won the series.”

(On the Bulls in the future):
“I can’t wait. This whole off season, I’m going to be working out. I think I am going to meet with them, the people in the front office, and just talk and see who we are going to get. But it is going to be fun. We can get any one of them (potential free agents). We’ve just got to get the right one to fit the team. I’m going to have a say-so, but everything is going to be left up to the people in the front office. I wouldn’t say recruit like that, but Chicago is a great place, a great team, a great organization, the fans are great, so why not come there?”

(On the Bulls being an elite team next year, how confident are you):
“I am very confident. With the team that we had this year, and with all the stuff that was going on, we still made it this far. A lot of people said we weren’t going to make the playoffs, but we did with the team that we had. And, all the trades that we had to overcome. So, next year, with a legit team, I’m happy about it.”


(On the series):
“They’re a very talented team. They have a lot of good players. It’s tough when your season is over and you don’t have anymore games. It was great. I loved playing in it (the series). It was a lot of fun. I wish we could have kept it going a little more, but even though it is disappointing, if you look at the big picture, we showed that we are going to get better and we are going to be a team to be reckoned with in the future.”

(On Shaq tonight):
“Shaq was huge for them. He got us in the penalty early…He really imposed his will on us early in the fourth quarter.”

(On what they can take away from this series going forward):
“I don’t want us to be known as the team that always plays hard in the first round. The goal is to win the series and play in the big games. It’s tough to lose right now. I hope it gives us experience playing on the big stage and competing against the best players in the world. Everybody talks about the difference between the regular season and the playoffs and there really is a huge difference in the level of competition. It is just tough right now to lose the way we lost, but it has to make us stronger and we have to learn from it. Individually, we have to get better in the summer and be ready to roll next year.”


(On the last Bulls offensive possession):
“We were just trying to score and get a quick basket and go from there.”

(On the series):
“I thought the whole series we played hard. They have a good team, a good bench, and a lot of talent. I thought everybody in this locker room was really locked in for the whole series and we really battled. We were upset at losing the last game at home, but tonight we gave ourselves a chance and in Game 2 we gave ourselves a chance.”

(On overcoming adversity throughout the season):
We went through a lot. There was a time when we weren’t playing great and we were losing to teams that we shouldn’t have. We saw whatever was said about on TV, and we went through injuries and developed character. I thought we played hard throughout the season. With everything we went through, we stuck together. I thought at the end of the season we made a good run to make the playoffs and we gave ourselves a chance.”